We were welcomed with open arms and hearts when we arrived at Riverside Baptist Church in Horsham, Pennsylvania for our disaster relief mission. We learned that Southern Baptists are a distinct minority, with Catholics representing 97% of churches. Of the other 3%, Southern Baptists are just one of 57 varieties of Baptists. But we knew the efforts of our small numbers would be magnified as we put hands to the prayers of all our congregations, working to bring much-needed help and comfort to the people affected by the recent flooding and winds of Hurricane Ida.
By divine planning, our first project was to serve at the home of a retired couple. Bob was a pastor and Maxine was an educator. Guess where he was born before moving away at the age of three? Edgefield, South Carolina!
The team did chainsaw work in the morning, and I exercised my limb-dragging skills until we stopped for our sack lunch. In the afternoon we tackled the mud-out part of the job, working in the flooded basement. In their construction, the paneling had been installed before the ceiling. Once I uncovered our Dremel tool, I was able to cut the top edges so the ceiling wouldn't be damaged when we pulled off the paneling. That was a tedious job!
We managed to get everything moved out of the basement, paneling and insulation removed, and sprayed the mold treatment to have the basement ready for reconstruction.
When the work was completed, we presented a Bible signed by all the team members to Bob and Maxine. They were grateful and very emotional. Bob told us about having seen Disaster Relief teams on the news and never expecting that they would be recipients. He said they felt comforted and cared for in their time of need.
Even more than the physical efforts of the recovery team, the sheer presence of caring people serving in Jesus’ name gave this couple renewed hope. Our first working day found us dragging at the end but totally blessed within.
By Linda Dale Shaver
Edgefield Association Disaster Relief Recovery Team
October 4-8, 2021